|06-28-2006, 06:13 AM||#1 (permalink)|
MSgt USMC Ret
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: San Diego
HMM-266 Tilts Toward Future
Marine Corps News | Randall A. Clinton | June 27, 2006
MCAS New River, N.C. - Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-266 cased their colors and stood down during a ceremony June 16 on the flightline.
The ceremony represented the beginning of the squadron’s transition to the new MV-22 “Osprey,” and “signifies the end of CH-46E operations for the squadron,” said Lt. Col. Joseph E. George, commanding officer for HMM-266.
“It’s a great day for the Marine Corps and Marine Corps aviation,” he added.
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-266 will be renamed Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron-266, and will stand back up next year as the third operational “Osprey” squadron in the Marine Corps, writing a new chapter in aviation history, said George, who received a Bronze Star Medal during the ceremony for his work during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Currently all Marine Corps “Osprey” squadrons are located on Marine Corps Air Station New River.
The Station houses two testing and training squadrons along with the first operational “Osprey” squadron, VMM-263. Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron-162 is scheduled to stand up in September as the second operational squadron.
The switch to MV-22’s will give the squadron a whole new level of capabilities, said George, who recently received his 3,000 flight hours pin.
Traveling almost twice as fast and carrying ten more Marines than the aging “Sea Knight,” the “Osprey” will replace all medium lift helicopters in the Marine Corps. The MV-22 also has the ability to refuel in flight, making it self-deployable.
The pilots of HMM-266 will head to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron-204 and begin a six-month school, learning how to fly the revolutionary aircraft.
“It’s two different theories of flight,” said Maj. Mike Duncan, a pilot with HMM-266 moving to the new machine. “You have aspects of both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft.”
Duncan said he is excited about moving to the MV-22, and said the Marine Corps will benefit from the increased long range capability.
The squadron ended its journey on a positive note, returning all of its Marines and Sailors safely from its most recent deployment to Iraq, said George. He said he expects the squadron to continue its proud tradition when it re-emerges as an “Osprey” squadron and prepares for another deployment, possibly in 2008.
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